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Lower Mississippi River Dispatch
"Voice of the Lower Mississippi"
October 21, 2019 ~ LMRD 746

Race Report:
Buck Island River Race: 9.77 miles

St. Francis River to Helena Harbor

The Mayor of Helena, AR, Kevin Smith, with twin daughters Caroline & Virginia Smith in Kevin's Blind Faith Canoe (which he paddled down the Mississippi River in 1983!)

Buck Island River Race
St. Francis River to Helena Harbor

Sorry for delay on this... we've been super busy on the river for the past 2 months! Almost non-stop!

See below for finishing times for the Oct 5, 2019, 1st annual Buck Island River Race, St. Francis River to Helena Harbor, 9.77 miles on the Mississippi River! Race times kept (very unscientifically) by stopwatch, starting the moment participants hit the muddy waters of the Mississippi as they exited the big eddy at the mouth of the St. Francis River. By all accounts, the race was a success! 2nd annual in works for 2020. Stay tuned for details forthcoming in the New Year.

Race course begins at the mouth of the St. Francis River, RBD mile 672, through a large & powerful eddy, in a wild stretch of the Lower Mississippi River

Paddler's Times:

54:35 Elmer Holmes

54:37 Adam Davis
1:03:25 Robert Cheek & Scott Shirey
1:08:40 Scott Andrews
1:11:08 Mike Beck
1:15:18 PJ & Kim Townsend & Jenny McCann
1:15:19 Kevin, Caroline & Virginia Smith
1:16:29 Paul & Tonya Mixon
1:17:01 Jeff Narvil
1:18:37 Billy Howell
1:24:35 Todd Dixon

LMRF director Shannon McMulkin with board members/volunteers Jenn Mohead and Liberty Lee

Finish Line: Helena Harbor

Under one hour:
#1 Elmer Holmes (54:35)
#2 Adam Davis (54:37)

#3 Robert Cheek & Scott Shirey (1:03:25)

#4 Scott Andrews (1:08:40)

#5 Mike Beck (1:11:08)

#6 PJ & Kim Townsend & Jenny McCann (1:15:18)
#7 Kevin, Caroline & Virginia Smith (1:15:19)

#8 Paul & Tonya Mixon (1:16:29)

#9 Jeff Narvil (1:17:01)

#10 Billy Howell (1:18:37)

#11 Todd Dixon (1:24:35)

(Todd Dixon volunteered to "sweep" -- stay to rear of race and make sure everyone completed safely. Thanks Todd! Thanks also to Helena Fire Dept Water Rescue and Arkansas game & Fish for deploying a safety boat. Thanks to US Coast Guard for securing race course along this stretch of river.)

Post-Race swim!

Winner Elmer Holmes exits water -- see y'all next year!

Thanks to all who participated! Fundraiser event for the Lower Mississippi River Foundation, dedicated to long lasting stewardship of the big river through our youth. Thanks to Helena Fire Dept Water Rescue and Arkansas game & Fish for deploying a safety boat. Thanks to US Coast Guard for securing race course along this stretch of river.


Upcoming Community Canoe Daytrips:

Saturday, Nov 2
Sunflower River, 1-4pm

Saturday, Nov 9
Sunflower River, 1-4pm

Join us for a fun, family friendly canoe trip on the Sunflower River. No experience necessary! We'll provide all equipment including life jackets. An experienced guide will give you a tour of the Sunflower River where you can see Clarksdale like never before. Locals and visitors are invited to join this one of a kind experience!!!

-$30 for adults
-Free for kids under 14
-1 pm- 4 pm
-Round trip from Quapaw Canoe Company
291 Sunflower Ave, Clarksdale, MS
-Dress for weather
-Wear shoes that can get muddy & wet
Pack waterbottle and snack

Contact us for registration:

Facebook Event Page:

Community Canoe Daytrips are made possible through the Clarksdale Revitalization Initiative, in partnership with the Lower Mississippi River Foundation. A community that canoes together, grooves together!


Monarch Migration

One of the most amazing migrations on earth is taking place from staging grounds along the marshes and beaches around the mouth of the Mississippi River, its distributary, the Atchafalaya, the Mississippi Sound, and elsewhere along the Gulf Coast, millions of monarch butterflies are congregating and refueling for the long flight across the open waters of the Gulf to the mountains of Mexico.

bon voyage friends!



The Lower Mississippi River Dispatch "Voice of the Lower Mississippi River" is published by the Quapaw Canoe Company. Photos and writing by John Ruskey, Mark River and others. Please write for re-publishing. Feel free to share with friends or family, but also credit appropriately. Go to and click on "Quapaw Dispatch" for viewing back issues of the LMRD.


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